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Antibody tests "sufficient for our purposes"

Antibody tests

Monday 27 April 2020

Antibody tests "sufficient for our purposes"

Monday 27 April 2020


The Chief Minister has maintained that the covid-19 antibody tests that have arrived in Jersey are sufficient for the government’s “purposes” - despite admitting some accuracy issues have been found with them.

50,000 tests by Healgen arrived on the island earlier this month, brought over with the help of a Jersey businessman based in the US.

Having received the stock, the government had hoped to examine the kits for their reliability and conduct tests on around 2,000 islanders with the aim of finding out who has already had the virus by the end of last week. 

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Pictured: The Government hoped to examine their kits for reliability last week.

However, some islanders raised concerns about the tests after it emerged that they had not been approved by China’s key health standards authority, and that their accuracy varied wildly according to different research.

Giving an update at a press conference on Friday, Senator Le Fondré said the timetable for rolling out the use of so-called ‘immunity tests’ had been pushed back amid some technical issues.

However, he described feedback from the group tasked with examining the tests as “positive”. 

Asked by Express whether he was concerned by the fact the Healgen hadn’t been officially approved for use in China, the Chief Minister admitted that he had raised questions on the topic with advisers.

He went on to say that, in testing the kits, some accuracy issues had been identified, but that they were still believed to be safe and “sufficient for our purposes”.

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Pictured: The Chief Minister say that the antibody kits are "sufficient for our purposes".

“The results don’t always show who has had the antibody,” Senator Le Fondré explained. 

“So they might just show you as never having had it, which is a safer way around, and it might just mean that you’d have to be tested again to show that you have that antibody.”

Express had previously asked what level of accuracy in percentage terms the tests would need to reach to be approved for use locally. Senator Le Fondré did not provide an answer when he was asked this again during the conference.

He said that officers were advising that the tests do meet the government’s requirements, but that a report about their potential use across the island was yet to be finalised.

Once published, it will be given to the Ministers for final approval.

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